Background Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, commonly known as the pine wood nematode (PWN), is one of the most destructive nematode species. It causes pine wilt, a slow progressive disease that results in economic loss worldwide. Objective Here, we review the nematode detection methods, including morphological, molecular, chemical, and protein-based methods, and assess how the nematode's distribution, virulence, incidence, and severity may be attenuated. Results Pathogenicity of the pine wood nematode is determined via its morphological and molecular characteristics. Many studies have used nucleic acid PCR amplification as a molecular-based technique, but there are often problems with DNA isolation. Currently, molecular-, chemical-, and protein-based analysis methods are used to diagnose emerging pine wilt diseases. Conclusion It is important to quickly diagnose and treat symptomatic trees, but the asymptomatic trees also require quick diagnosis and removal. For this reason, morphological- and DNA-based methods should be combined with chemical- and protein-based approaches for quick and efficient detection.